There’s a Light

There´s a light
over at the Frankenstein Place
There´s a light
burning in the fireplace
There´s a light, a light
in the darkness of everybody´s life.

~ The Rocky Horror Picture Show

              I can see the end of this year on my calendar! W00t! Also, on December 21, something special will happen. Saturn and Jupiter will appear to overlap in what is called a great conjunction. The conjunction will look like a bright star in the southwestern sky. Such an event is bright and rare and, this time, it happens near Christmas. So, there’s light at the end of the tunnel that has been 2020, and a special end-of-the-year light in the sky. There’s a light.

              I don’t suppose, in such a time, that the phrase, “there’s a light” brings to mind a song from the classic movie, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” At the start of the movie, strait-laced Brad and Janet get lost in a downpour on a fateful night and happen upon the castle of scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter. They believe the castle is a possible haven from the darkness and the storm, but in the madness inside, the doctor unveils his latest invention: a man-made Adonis named Rocky Horror. As the night progresses, the party gets out of hand—and so do Brad and Janet, who learn that nothing is as it seems.

              I wonder sometimes if the new vaccine, or the newly elected leaders, or even the New Year are like that castle, looking pretty good from the dark storm of the virus. It is possible, the lights we see in the solutions before us are actually a chaotic party of medical experiments gone wild, psychotic influences, moral degradation, and freaky lunatics who are called home, flying off in their spaceship when it all seems to fall apart. Thus, a metaphoric massive gothic gathering of unmasked, unhinged people closely cavorting while they feed and spread their contagious carnal passions with catchy dances and silly songs.

              There’s a reason Rocky Horror is a cult classic. It’s entertaining, has well-developed characters, includes some big-name actors early in their careers, and the music and choreography is quality, but still campy. When I was a freshman in college, movie theaters would present the show at midnight, and the experience of dressing up like the characters, yelling at the screen, throwing toast, opening your umbrellas during the rain scene, and dancing in the aisles was a rite of passage. I know every song in the movie by heart. The lyrics listed above are from a lovely ballad, in which Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick provide wonderful harmony.

              Rocky Horror is a musical horror show. That alone is a combination of absurdity and comical discomfort. It’s a horror, but it’s still fun, frisky, and fantastic. There’s very little screaming or suspense. You’re more likely to end up dancing the Time Warp. (It’s just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right…) Rocky Horror is a wild and wacky science fiction double feature.

Perhaps someone will turn 2020 into a musical review—The Covid Horror Picture Show. We have certainly seen our leaders do a good amount of dancing this year. Everyone in the show could wear masks, four percent of the cast gets sick during the performance, someone dies at the end and the folks who started and stirred the whole mess fly off with their profits.

Obviously, I’m in a dark and dramatic mood. I haven’t reached “Bah Humbug,” but I’m not quite feeling the “Ho, Ho, Ho.” I think the solution is to focus on the “Christmas Star” of 2020, the great conjunction. Jupiter and Saturn are coming together on the day of the solstice, December 21. At their closest, they’ll be only 0.1 degrees apart.

Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions happen every 20 years; the last one was in the year 2000. But the 2020 great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn will be the closest since 1623 and the closest observable since 1226. This extra-close Jupiter-Saturn conjunction won’t happen again until March 15, 2080.

Some say the two planets will look like an “elongated star” three days before Christmas. It will truly be (though not technically) a Christmas star not to be matched for 80 years. So, no matter where you are at the end of this crazy year, there’s a light. A light in the sky like none in my lifetime. A light to brighten the celebration of a Savior, to shine over the Festival of Lights. There’s a light, there’s a light in the sky– even if we’ve been drawn into a science fiction double feature here on Earth.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, blessed New Year. In this strange, stressed, and contagious season, I hope you permit yourself to be wacky and a little weird. I hope you get to be silly and salacious, have a chance to dance and sing. And if you’re feeling down, blue, dramatic, or dark, look up at the night sky. There’s a light.

In the velvet darkness
of the blackest night
 burning bright
 there´s a guiding star
no matter what or who you are
There´s a light

~ The Rocky Horror Picture Show